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Secrets back on the straight and narrow? Self redemtion


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16 replies to this topic

#1 of 17 OFFLINE   JamesDB

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Posted December 10 2004 - 02:23 PM

Although lately I have become a rather cynical Secrets reader due to their pushing all sorts of interconnections and gizmos that "improve" sound I think today they may have taken a small but measured step towards redeeming themselves and getting honest.

The expensive Nordost powercable cannot be statistically separated from lesser brands as far as sound quality goes. And they had the honestly to publish it after the test. And the golden ears did even worse that the neophites!

Now if they would only do this for speaker cables...

James

#2 of 17 OFFLINE   Kevin C Brown

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Posted December 10 2004 - 07:42 PM

Speaker cables, line level interconnects, coax digital vs optical digital, etc. Shoot, I wouldn't even them mind doing this with pre/pros (or receivers), DVD players, etc. Posted Image
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#3 of 17 OFFLINE   Chu Gai

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Posted December 11 2004 - 02:15 AM

Well to be fair, it wasn't a well done test and there were various shortcomings but they did remove the identity. As I see it, Secrets', or one of their members, attempted to stack the deck by using four Nordost cables vs. four generics. The idea, which calls for me to make some suppositions, was to truly hope by doing so that there would be a cumulative effect that would be apparent to all. Didn't happen though.

As to whether there's self-redemption, at the present time I think not. If you bother to go to their forums site and read the postings in the Cables section, you'll find that there's a fair amount of denial and feeble attempts to trash the scientific method which is a common approach by anyone or any industry selling products or services of dubious (and I'm being mighty kind) merit. In fact, after the test, Serinus and some other person, went to another person's home where they once again proclaimed how they could tell how one cable made a Halcro amp sound flat but another didn't. More sighted comparisons or the usual sleight of hand.

The main problem is Serinus and to some extent, JJ who keeps him in his employ. Serinus may well be a nice guy, but a rudimetary google search of him will indicate that he's deeply immersed in bogus and irrational thoughts. We've got the power of whistling as healing, his reikii business, his Lavender Network which attempts to cause healing by the cumulative good thoughts and direction of psychic energy to individuals, his willing embracing of the power of witches, faith healers, channelers, etc., his stated belief that aids is due a chakra problem, all point to either a very deluded individual or one looking to to carve a niche and exploit the suffering of others for personal gain. He is a quack. All this strongly suggests that he is unable to provide accurate portrayals of things like power cords, speaker wire and the like. Its like reading about acid trips and hallucinations with the intent to convince others that they are quite real. Secrets would do well to approach some of the participants from say Audioholics to commment more intelligently on these matters as a replacement for this reality detached individual.

#4 of 17 OFFLINE   JamesDB

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Posted December 11 2004 - 01:18 PM

Chu,

I can't seem to find their forum section. Do you have a link for it? I'd like to read some of the feedback the people had on the witch oil.

James

#5 of 17 OFFLINE   Chu Gai

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Posted December 11 2004 - 03:11 PM

The general link to the forums section can be gotten to by clicking in the top right 'box' when you go into their site. The general discussion is found in the cables section.

#6 of 17 OFFLINE   Kevin C Brown

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Posted December 11 2004 - 08:04 PM

Secret's "redeemed" ? Maybe not. Check out this review:

http://www.hometheat....r-12-2004.html

Everything is at it should be, until you get to the final graph of freq response. Down by more than 2 dB at 20 kHz. That's terrible. Especially when you consider that one advantage of SACD and DVD-A is extended high freq response. The reviewer's response?

Quote:
The measured frequency response has a nice roll off at the upper end of the scale. This most likely contributes to the slight warmth in the sound I experienced when using the amplifier.

Yeah, OK. Posted Image
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#7 of 17 OFFLINE   Chu Gai

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Posted December 11 2004 - 11:12 PM

Mfr. says the amp is down 3 dB @ 150 kHz. When one gets a reading that's down 2 dB @ 20 kHz that would suggest that either the measurement was done in error, there's something wrong with the equipment, the equipment is not suitable for such measurements, or there's something wrong with the unit. A discrepency like that should've been resolved and not rationalized by the warmth in sound I was experiencing. Seems to me we have a lack of editorial oversight.

#8 of 17 OFFLINE   Brian L

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Posted December 12 2004 - 02:59 AM

Quote:
Secrets would do well to approach some of the participants from say Audioholics to commment more intelligently on these matters as a replacement for this reality detached individual.

Chu, not to take this off topic, but knowing that you have written extensively about power line conditioners and such, what do you make of this???

http://www.audioholi...._HTS-3500a.php

Reading through their cable articles, in particular their exchanges with vendors that were brave enough to respond, lead me to think that this was the web version of The Audio Critic ( agood thing IMHO), but this review actually says positive things about a Monster product....I consider than the 1000 pound gorilla of ALL the fakes a frauds out there. Reading this review has me actually considering one of their power center products. How can it be??????Posted Image

Back to cables in general, I picked up a recent copy of Hi-Fi+ (like the Absolute Sound, I do so on occasion for amusement purposes only!), and they had an article claiming to detail a new test of loudspeaker cables. What a crock....of course the Nordost high $$$$$ cable won, but having read the article three times, I still have no clue what their methodology was. It was supposedly blind, but it follows no ABX procedure that I have ever read about.

BGL

#9 of 17 OFFLINE   David Judah

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Posted December 12 2004 - 05:06 AM

Quote:
How can it be??????
Because despite all of the negativity, Monster stuff is usually well-built--expensive perhaps, but solidly designed. Their power products were designed with the help of Richard Marsh.

Just out of curiosity, do you consider Monster "the 1000 pound gorilla of ALL the fakes a frauds" because of experience you've had with their products or some other source?

DJ

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Graham: You had disadvantages.
Lecktor: What disadvantages?
Graham: You're insane.

#10 of 17 OFFLINE   Brian L

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Posted December 12 2004 - 06:26 AM

Quote:
Just out of curiosity, do you consider Monster "the 1000 pound gorilla of ALL the fakes a frauds" because of experience you've had with their products or some other source?


Well, both to a degree.

But, to disclose my slant on things, I do have a complete and total bias against the high-end cable industry as a whole. While I am perfectly OK with the potential for improved build quality, I feel that the performance claims are utter nonsense, and can not be substantiated in any scientific way.

When I want to spend money on a cable that is better (in terms of its build quality) than what came in the box, I send my $$$$ to Blue Jeans. No fanciful claims, just broadcast quality components, well built, and at barely more than Radio Shack money.

And since you have the folks at Best Buy, CC, Ultimate, etc. pushing Monster products on lay-folk who do not have the benefit of following these matters as we do here, they get my personal vote of disapproval above all others. At least the other high dollar boutique brands typically only find their way into systems owned by folks that DO have the opportunity to know better.

In my personal experience, I have only owned two single Monster products; an S-Video cable purchased when I first got a DVD player, and a high-bandwidth splitter (mentioned to me by MD Riggs, former editor of Audio Magazine).

Given the cost of the S-Vid cable at the time ($50 or so, IIRC), I could not, after repeatedly going back and forth, see one iota of difference between it an the S-Vid cable that came in the box with the player. That pretty much settled it for me, and it went back to the store. I still own, but do not use the splitter.

But, I do also place great credence in the writings of the staff at the Audio Critic, as well as many other sources that I consider credible. And Chu, who's opinion and writings I greatly respect, does a pretty and good relentless job of it at the HTF as well!

While not related to Monster, but to high $$$ cable in general, last year, I won a Nordost Blue Heaven interconnect from the good folks at Secrets. While I would never pay $250 for a cable, I was more than happy to try it in my rig. And while I could not really do anything approaching a level matched, ABX comparo, I did spend an afternoon going back and forth between it and my standard $10 Phoenix Gold cable. Of course you can guess the outcome there. Via my Pio 45a, NAD 762, B&W 604 rig, I heard no difference using a variety of SACD and DVD-A sources.

I traded it over at Audio Designs, even $$$$ for a NAD Phono Pre-Amp. I personally think I got the long end of that stick, as now I can dig out my long ignored vinyl collection!

So, there you have it. Maybe Monster is not the worst in the bunch, but you have to accept that they are the most ubiquitous brand of high-dollar cable out there, and the one that in my view preys on the low hanging fruit of the customer pool.

Of course, my point in mentioning the power Center was that it appears to be a legitimate product, with an endorsement from another source that I would deem credible, so I may need to adjust my views of Monster,as least so far as power filtering products are concerned.

BGL

#11 of 17 OFFLINE   David Judah

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Posted December 12 2004 - 07:52 AM

I agree with you, Brian, about cables.

As you probably know, retailers get in bed with Monster because they have a successful sales model and 50% margins compared to the relatively low margins on the hardware itself(speakers generally have good margin, however). Cables and extended warranties are their bread and butter--that is just the reality in that particular industry. I tend not to begrudge Monster, or any other business, for being successful.

Also, I don't think they make outrageuos claims, although they do, like any marketing entity, slant things a particular way and rely on people's short attention spans. Interestingly, upon closer inspection of some of their materials, you'll find that their products don't offer a distinct advantage, but of course they package it neatly so most won't notice.

For example, on the back of their power cords, they have a chart that shows extended reponse compared to a generic cord. If you look close, you'll see the advantage it offers extends out beyond the usable audio range. Someone will take a cursory glance at the chart and see the Monster cord is better, but won't snap that there won't be an advantage for their application.

As for their power products, I think that's their strong suit as far as effectiveness goes. I bought one of their power centers because in my add-on room where my equipment is, I have alot of noise in the lines. Being fairly skeptical, I measured the line noise with and without the Monster unit and it did cut the noise by around 90%. I also tested how well it isolated the "digital" inputs with the "analog" ones and again it worked as advertised.

I'm not here to defend Monster, but I find it suprising how often they are bashed on the different Forums--many doing so just because that's what they've read on the net, so they blindly repeat it.

Thank you for your explanation. Enjoy the vinyl!Posted Image

DJ

Lecktor: Then how did you catch me?
Graham: You had disadvantages.
Lecktor: What disadvantages?
Graham: You're insane.

#12 of 17 OFFLINE   BruceD

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Posted December 12 2004 - 08:14 AM

I'm sorry, but Monster is the epitome of what I hate most about some audio companies, arrogant and totally without a social conscious (their massive lawsuit campaign to sue anyone in any field in every corner of the web (1000s)who use the name Monster).

I will not buy any Mosnter products on principle, but that's just me.

#13 of 17 OFFLINE   Chu Gai

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Posted December 12 2004 - 08:13 PM

Judging from the review, I think that...
1) It appears to be a well made unit
2) Florida may be the senior citizen capital of the world but its not the lighting capital. Try the mountains of Africa.
3) If you live in a lighting prone area and you have your own house, you go with a whole house approach instead of any point of use device as your first line of defence.
4) If you live in an area with sandy, dry soil, you look for ways to improve your external grounding.
5) The video problems might have been a result of the type of antenna and/or sundry grounding problems. Sometimes though, you do the best you can to solve a problem and then you try something and it works. Its a personal call if you want to keep looking for other ways to fix the problem because your time is worth something. Myself, I might've dug a bit deeper.
6) Where they say...I also discovered that our reference system seemed to have a slightly cleaner sound when hooked through the HTS 3500. Furthermore, the noise floor appeared to drop slightly, especially on analog signals, during quite music passages. it leaves a lot for interpretation just what seems and appears really means. I'd probably have burned a low pink noise and confirmed that there was a difference using a VOM. OTOH, there may also have been a minor ground loop problem between say the amp and preamp which using this unit further reduced or eliminated. Hard to say though.
7) Like Bruce, I don't like Monster's knee jerk reaction to lawyers and law suits. I did like it though when Eveready (?) sued Monster over false claims about their line of batteries and won.
8) I think in general if you've got a problem you look to address the solution at the fundamental source if possible and only then look at external devices.
9) I think in his prime, Jordan would've kicked Kobe's ass.

#14 of 17 OFFLINE   BrianAe

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Posted December 15 2004 - 06:00 AM

I think JJ is walking a very fine line. He makes personal statements down playing the effects of cables but always is a little ambiguous and never takes a stand again even the most extreme points of view in terms of how big a difference cables of any kind can make. He endorses the experiment being discussed but then says it didn't show anything and of course he continues to publish Jason's reviews.

All in all, I feel he wants to attract the extreme "cult" of the audiophile people to his site and the companies like Nordost that make products for them. While at the same time he doesn't want to lose all credibility with the rest of us or embarrass himself since he is after all a scientist.

Actually, while I wish he would take a stand, I think he's doing a pretty good job of walking the line and the results, if you ever visit his forum, are kind of fun.

#15 of 17 OFFLINE   Kevin C Brown

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Posted December 15 2004 - 12:17 PM

They did correct the review of the Anthem amp. Was a measurement issue.
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#16 of 17 OFFLINE   Chu Gai

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Posted December 15 2004 - 02:44 PM

Then what explains the perception that the unit was warm? Posted Image

#17 of 17 OFFLINE   Kevin C Brown

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Posted December 15 2004 - 06:22 PM

If you look at the measurements, it stills rolls off, but in the neighborhood of ... 50 kHz instead of 20 kHz. So I'm not sure the "warmth" comment is applicable any more, except as just something to say.

Or,

The amp itself runs warm. Posted Image
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